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Share Quickbooks over VPN

Posted on 2004-09-16
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We are looking for a way to share quickbooks between our two offices via the internet.  We can get it to work over a VPN connection , but it is extremely slow.  Both locations have aDSL connection to internet, so the upload speed from either location is very slow.
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Question by:lake59
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12 Comments
 
LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:ksearch
ID: 12085538
I believe quickbooks (intuit) has an online edition. That might be a viable solution.
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LVL 2

Author Comment

by:lake59
ID: 12086489
They do, but it is too trimmed down for our needs and the $3500 edition is too costly.

Does anyone know if we put the database on a third party server and connect to that individually, will that work?
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LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:ksearch
ID: 12086529
how about connecting to it via terminal services? Is that a possibility? You haven't mentioned any details about the platform it's on, servers, etc. But if you have terminal services, that might be worth trying.
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Author Comment

by:lake59
ID: 12086754
Intuit says that the $3500 edition (plus $750 per yr) uses terminal services.  I am unfamiliar w terminal services.  If I connect two locations, both w ADSL via terminal services, will it run quicker than VPN?

Most machines have WXP pro running now.  I think the server is also XP, but unsure.
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LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:ksearch
ID: 12087292
If your server is xp or even 2000 it has terminal services.  Terminal services would run on the server, and the remote client would connect in, still through the vpn tunnel. The VPN is what's giving your connection some security.  However, with terminal services, the application continues to run locally, on the server, with terminal services only sending the remote client screen shots, keystrokes, etc. Not so much bandwidth as running the whole application over the wire.  

I'm not sure what that means in terms of Quickbooks licensing though, and would not advocate not purchasing the correct licenses for your products. But I wouldn't imagine it would be any different that the multi-user setup you have going on now. Pretty much the same deal, just a more compact method of communication.  
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LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:napoleon41
ID: 12089166
LOL.  Man have I been through the ringer with this one.  

QuickBooks is just too darn chatty with it's file access.  I had it working over a VPN, but it was so much processing work for the VPN routers, that they kept locking up.  You can do it if you get
#1 Some serious upload bandwidth (about 512 a client-remember, the true bandwidth after all of the encryption overhead is like a coffee stirer used as a straw).

#2 A heck of a VPN gateway on both ends.  I recommend a Linux box with a great processor as your processing for the encryption is going to scale considerablity with each new client.

____

Really, the best solution is to do terminal services like everyone is saying.  Put a Win2K server on your network and get as many terminal services licenses as you need (i.e. how many computers will be connecting to it for quickbooks from the remote site).  The standard package ususally comes with 2-3 terminal service licenses.  They will probably run you $50-$70 a piece.  Go ahead and sigh now, there's no other way if this is what you are trying to do.

Then, like everyone has been saying, the clients will connect though the VPN (or you can use remote desktop on the clients) and instead of the entire database having to transition back and forth, only the screen (program, mouse movements, etc) will have to be passed.  This is much more efficient, and much faster for the end user.
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LVL 2

Author Comment

by:lake59
ID: 12089572
For now we need 2 remote connections at the most.  Can I use my current Quickbooks contractor edition with  a terminal service and get it to work?  What if our server is an XP box?

If the clients use remote desktop (not really sure what this is but sounds like pc anywhere?), can both remote computers and the local computer connect to the same database on the server at the same time?  AND will the speed be acceptable?
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Accepted Solution

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napoleon41 earned 400 total points
ID: 12092205
For true terminal services, you must have a Windows SERVER edition loaded on a computer.  You must install Terminal Services on it (installed by default I think), and the clients must have a terminal services client, or a Remote Desktop client to connect to it.  Then, they all get a "virtual desktop" on the server.  Licenses for all software (like QuickBooks) would then follow the number of users connecting to it, not the number of machines it is installed on.  Separate from the software licenses are the terminal services licenses, but if you only have 2 users, you would not have to buy any extra.  If you added more in the future, though, you would need to.

I am respecifying this because if you currently have XP Pro, 1 (and only 1) person can log into it remotely because XP Pro allows only 1 remote control session via "Remote Desktop's" client.  While someone is connected remotely, the screen for anyone using it locally is blanked out (logs them off while the remote session is logged on), so this might not be practical for you as someone might need to use that computer.

There is another option if you only have 2 remote users (this is not the best solutions, but it could be a work-around for you). You could put 2 more PC's at the office where QuickBooks is stored locally.  Make sure that they have XP PRO on them (Home edition does not allow remote desktop connections).  Set the systems up for Remote Desktop Sharing so the 2 remote users can "take them over."  Then, the database would be accessed locally, and the 2 remote users simply have a "terminal session" like situation set up.  Like I said, this isn't great, but it's a workaround.  Actually, if no one would use those 2 computers locally, you wouldn't even need a monitor after the initial set up.  You could get one of those really dinky cases and just set them on a shelf or something, just 2 more pieces of "network equipment."  http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=536525&Sku=S451-3050

QuickBooks would need to be loaded on those 2 systems, and probably be taken off the 2 remote computers (unless you have enough licenses to go around).  
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LVL 8

Assisted Solution

by:ksearch
ksearch earned 600 total points
ID: 12097989
So, I guess at this point, you need to decide if you are willing to throw an actual server (running windows server) on your network. From there, terminal services will be a breeze.  If not, then you'll need to think about putting two additional workstations on your network like Napolean41 has suggested as a work around.  Once you make that decision you can move forward.

Let us know how you get on..
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Expert Comment

by:Poudrecomputer
ID: 12214241
I'm working on this same idea.  I have a windows 2003 server, and windows xp workstations, the xp workstations connect to the windows 2003 server, running Terminal Server service.  Remote desktop is the program they are using on the workstations.  There seems to be some little problems with Quickbooks running under Terminal services.  It sounds like it is do-able, but i'm still wrestling with it.  Just wanted you to know that getting quickbooks to run on Terminal Services is not very easy.
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LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:napoleon41
ID: 12214533
Poudrecomputer, you should start your own thread if you need to, but make sure that

#1 you have enought licenses for the number of users that are using Quickbooks at 1 time.
#2 you have setup your 2003 server's terminal services service as Application and not Administration terminal services.
#3 you are using QuickBooks Enterprise Edition as it is the only version which supports terminal services.

http://search.intuit.com/KCS/viewdocument.do?searchMode=GuidedSearch&docID=KC.faqs-qb2004-124603html&dialogID=11230240&iterationID=1&url=http%3a%2f%2fwww.quickbooks.com%2fsupport%2ffaqs%2fqb2004%2f124603.html%3Fsource=1&docName=Microsoft+Terminal+Server+functionality+for+QuickBooks&sourceKmap=&viewFrom=Main&docDate=<DocDate><Y>2004</Y><M>05</M><D>19</D></DocDate>&locale=  

hope that link works.

Quote in case it does not.
Question: Does QuickBooks work in a Windows Terminal Server environment?
 
Answer: QuickBooks Basic, Pro, and Premier editions are not supported in a Windows Terminal Server environment.

QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions is supported in a Windows Terminal Server environment and can easily connect your multiple office locations and remote workers using the third-party software of Windows Terminal Services.

Detailed information about Terminal Server for Microsoft® Windows NT®  4.0, Microsoft® Windows® 2000, and Microsoft® Windows XP can be found by searching for keywords Terminal Server at www.microsoft.com, or by viewing search results here.
 


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Expert Comment

by:JayneMcCaugherty
ID: 24474872
Hey Folks, I have been reading this thread with interest as I got hit with this issue this morning for resolution this afternoon.

While the suggestions here would work, please be aware that within Quickbooks there is a terminal service offered at approximately $3.95 / mth. Open a webex page.  Click the pre-configured connection and the terminal services will open the QuickBooks program for you.  Fairly straight forward, limits the end user to just QuickBooks and only needs one computer set up with access to QuickBooks.

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